Navigating Joint Tenancy and Trusts in Divorce
Video Transcript:Good afternoon everybody. This is Oklahoma lawyer Dustin Peterson. We talked a little bit about joint tenancy and home ownership as the advantages it brings to a marriage and the possible consequences of equitably dividing that property or distributing that property in divorce.
Going along those lines today I want to talk a little bit about some other situations that can arise around joint tenancy. And one of those things might be if the couple decides to place the home in a trust. So let’s say for example that the married couple has joint tenancy home ownership and they place that trust, place that home in the trust and the trust belongs to the wife.
So, for example, my wife and I own our house in joint tenancy. What if I were to place the house, we place the house in my wife’s trust and thereafter only my wife uses and controls the house. Even though generally speaking a property will retain the classification it had at the time of conveyance into a trust, this situation might be enough for the courts to presume that I have now gifted the property to the wife exclusively and now if we were to divorce I may not be able to get an equitable share of that house.
Another situation might come up if say my wife had property in a trust already and we were married and we decide to form a new trust. Now without forming a new deed to get joint tenancy on a house, let’s say we decide to form another trust, husband and wife revocable trust and we place my wife’s house into the new husband and wife revocable trust.
Well now even though that was my wife’s separate property and even though we did not create a joint tenancy, the courts might say it’s just as good as joint tenancy because of the way we treated this property. We put it into our trust thereby my wife may not be able to retain the separate nature of that property should we divorce and I might get my equitable share in distribution.
If you are dealing with joint tenancy and trust issues, it is crucial to understand the implications of your decisions. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your interests are protected. If you have any questions or concerns about dividing marital assets, joint tenancy, or trusts, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach me, a marital assets division attorney in OKC, at theoklahomacityattorney.com.